Here at Emmanuel, we believe in the next generation. Our hope is that every child who attends would be able to discover God’s love for them, learn to apply His word, and live a life of purpose. We also desire to partner with parents and families along that journey. One way in which we achieve this is through our Child Dedication Service. Child Dedications is held four times per year at our campuses. We believe it is a wonderful way for parents to publicly commit to raise their child in a Christ-centered home and guide their child towards that personal relationship with Jesus.
What is the Biblical foundation of child dedications?
In Deuteronomy 6:5-9, God describes how parents should raise up their child. It states that we are to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (NLT). In dedicating your child, you are declaring before the church congregation that you, as the parent, are committing to nurture your child in the ways of God and entrusting Him with your child’s future.
Do we need to be members of Emmanuel to dedicate our child?
You do not need to be a member of Emmanuel Christian Center, but we do encourage families to make sure they are calling Emmanuel their church home. In dedicating your child to God, you are stating that you are willing to partner with God AND the church in raising your child for the Lord. While we wholeheartedly believe that parents serve as the primary spiritual authority in their child’s life, we believe the church plays a vital role in your child’s faith story as well. Because of this, we ask that parents be in accordance with the following statements:
- Parents dedicating their child(ren) have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
- Parents dedicating their child(ren) ensure their beliefs line up with Emmanuel’s beliefs.
- Parents dedicating their child(ren) are regular attenders of Emmanuel’s weekend services.
- Parents dedicating their child(ren) commit to model personal purity and lead by example in matters of faith and conduct. Because of this, parents who are living together and who are not married should take steps to acknowledge and surrender to God’s plan for their relationship before participating in a child dedication service.
Can a single parent participate in the child dedication service?
Yes! Child Dedication signifies the commitment of parents (including single parents) to do their best to raise their child to be a follower of Christ. Additionally, we highly encourage single parents to dedicate their child as they commit to raise him or her without the presence or partnership of a spouse. The decision to dedicate a child is not dependent upon the beliefs of the ex-spouse; however, we encourage single parents to discuss child dedication with their ex-spouse. Ideally, both parents – even if not married – would still commit to the dedication of their child to God. We acknowledge that this is often not possible, and that it takes extra effort for a single parent to raise a child. As a church, Emmanuel is committed to supporting single parents in providing a Christian foundation for their child’s upbringing.
Is this an infant baptism?
No. We believe that a child must be old enough to understand what it means to put their faith in Jesus Christ before they can be baptized. In Luke 2, Joseph and Mary take Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem to “present Him to the Lord” (Luke 2:22). In following this practice, Emmanuel encourages parents to dedicate their children as a way to acknowledge that their child is a gift from God and vow to set a godly example in their home. The Child Dedication Service is rather an opportunity for you as parents to publically declare that you want to raise your child to develop their own relationship with Jesus Christ as they continue to mature and grow in their faith.
Is this event only for babies?
No! We believe that a child can participate in dedications at any age. While most parents dedicate their child between four to eight months, we welcome many families that may have older children.
What can I expect on the day of the celebration?
The Child Dedication ceremony will take place in the sanctuary, during both the 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. services. Families are free to choose which service they will attend. Following our morning worship, one of our pastors will call parents to the platform to recognize all the children being dedicated. Each family will be led in a prayer of dedication and personal covenant before heading back to their seats. Upon arrival, please check-in with one of our hosts so they can escort you and your family to a section of reserved seating.
In addition to the service in the sanctuary, Emmanuel hosts a reception for parents and their family and friends beginning at 10:15 a.m. It will include a light, continental brunch, introductions, short message, and should last no more than 45 minutes.
How many people can I invite?
This is great time to celebrate a family’s commitment to Christ, so we encourage you to bring as many family and friends as you like! We encourage you, as parents, to invite specific individuals that that can play a vital role in your child’s life. As you widen your circle of influence, these people can hold you accountable to the commitment you are making, give you advice on parenting, and speak into the life of your child. During the service, however, only the immediate family will be asked to come on stage.
What should we wear?
Whatever you and your little one will feel most comfortable in! Some people dress casually in jeans, while others wear more formal attire.